Colin Stowell was sworn in Monday as chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Following a national search that included interview panels with local firefighters, Mayor Kevin Faulconer decided a "familiar face" was the best choice to lead the department.
Stowell, a San Diego native, began his career with the SDFD in 1988. He served as captain, battalion chief, deputy chief and assistant chief during his first tenure before leaving in 2016 to lead Heartland Fire & Rescue.
"It's critical that we have the very best people in the most important positions to keep our neighborhoods safe," the mayor said during Stowell's swearing-in ceremony.
The City Council unanimously approved Stowell's nomination on July 23. Stowell, the city's 18th fire-rescue chief, succeeds Kevin Ester, who had served on an interim basis since April.
City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and members of the community joined Stowell and Faulconer for the ceremony in front of SDFD Station 1.
KFMB-TV CBS 8 San Diego
Fire officials on Tuesday will ask the Board of Supervisors to approve a $42 million annual plan calling for more firefighters and new fire stations to plug response holes in the county — with a recommendation of a half-cent countywide sales tax hike to voters next year to fund it.
The plan would add about 175 paid firefighters, many of them paramedics, to bolster the county’s current paid firefighting force of 400. It also calls for 10 new fire stations to house round-the-clock staff, some of those in rural areas now served by volunteers.
One new station would replace a small volunteer firehouse in the hills north of Santa Rosa where the Tubbs fire swept into the county in October. Another would go up in Jenner, improving response times to emergencies on Highway 1 and the coast communities. Others are slated for Bloomfield in the west county and Lakeville, south of Petaluma.
The Ranch Fire, one of the Mendocino Complex fires, became the largest wildfire in California history on Sunday morning, Cal Fire confirmed.
The Ranch Fire scorched 282,479 acres by Sunday morning — bypassing the previous record holder, December’s Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, according to Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman.
Firefighters saw extreme fire behavior Saturday night, and hot, dry and windy weather conditions continue in the area of the fire, Cal Fire said in its report Sunday morning. Between Saturday morning and Sunday morning, the Ranch Fire burned 6,173 acres, according to Cal Fire.
Firefighters plan Sunday to try to contain the northwestern part of the Ranch Fire and will also try to keep the fire from moving west, Cal Fire said.
San Luis Obispo County Tribune
A California judge on Friday rejected the plea deals of two men who were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter after a 2016 California warehouse fire.
In handing down his decision, Judge James Cramer said 48-year-old Derick Almena didn’t accept “full responsibility and remorse” for the fatal blaze which occurred during an unlicensed concert at the dilapidated Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship.”
The plea deal had called for Almena to be sentenced to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years. Relatives of victims who died in the blaze had slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient.
Authorities have alleged Almena rented the warehouse and illegally converted it into an entertainment venue and residences before the fire. Harris was accused of helping him collect rent and schedule concerts.
KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento
A Redding family who fled the sprawling Carr Fire returned home to find something fishy had happened while they were away.
They were doubtless elated. According to a tweet from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the family fled the 190,000-acre blaze burning just west of Redding, in Northern California.
They left behind their finned friend, Grant, and the father told his daughter that Grant likely hadn’t made it after going without food for an extended period.
“Both were in for quite a shock when they returned home to a well-fed fish!” read the Cal Fire tweet.
An accompanying photo showed Grant swimming among the tall grass, marbles and porcelain jug that decorate his abode.
A handwritten note from a member of the department’s Engine 1489 crew said, “Fed your fish a few sprinkles. Sorry if we weren’t supposed to.” A notation beneath it from the Corning Police Department said Grant had been fed again August 1 at 10:33 a.m.
KPIX-TV CBS 5 San Francisco
Tera Swick watched in horror as monster flames raced down a mountain Friday morning and toward her mother’s neighborhood.
She and her family had been tracking the Holy fire during the last few days, watching it gain steam then stall as it climbed through the Santa Ana Mountains from Orange County into the foothills above the Riverside County lake community. All night, the fire raced toward the Robin Hood Oaks subdivision, which was illuminated with flames and the flashing lights of fire trucks. Swick had a U-Haul packed with belongings ready to go with her family. All night, the fire raced toward the Robin Hood Oaks subdivision, which was illuminated with flames and the flashing lights of fire trucks. Swick had a U-Haul packed with belongings ready to go with her family.
Then, a plane flew in low and dropped water on the flames. Swick and her family screamed with excitement.
“They’re just amazing,” she said. “We’re cheering them on every time they’re making drops.”
San Diego Union-Tribune